LKY gets the Warhol treatment


Kuan Yew gets the Warhol treatment



Artistic tribute: Sondhi’s painting ‘Singapore Icon: LKY Quartet 1’ (2013, mixed media on canvas, 24″x24″, at left) is priced at $1,400 – PHOTO: SUKESHI SONDHI

WHAT do politician Lee Kuan Yew and artist Andy Warhol have in common? Quite a number of things. Both are famous men born in the 1920s and both founded something – Mr Lee founded modern, independent Singapore in 1965, while Warhol founded the pop art movement in the 1960s. Perhaps, it is apt then that artist Sukeshi Sondhi has chosen to render Mr Lee in distinctly Warholian pop art style for her upcoming solo exhibition of some 20 paintings. Using an image of Mr Lee from the 1960s when he was a young man, she depicts him in various bright colours, repeating the same image across all her canvases.This is the same method employed by Warhol whose two most famous pieces, the Marilyns and the Campbell Soup Cans, comprise repetitions of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell soup can images.

But why Mr Lee for an entire exhibition? “Because whether you love him or hate him, he is still the only true celebrity Singapore has ever produced,” Sondhi says of the man who celebrates his 90th birthday on Sept 16, which is also when the exhibition opens to the public. If you travel outside of Singapore and ask people to name someone famous from Singapore, the answer will almost invariably be ‘Lee Kuan Yew’.”

Like Warhol who used the process of repeating the celebrity’s image to comment on how the projected persona eventually overtakes the actual person, Ms Sondhi hopes to make the same point, that “repetition simultaneously celebrates and erodes the mystique of the celebrity”, she explains. The process of creating the paintings involved mixed media applications using multiple silkscreens to give each painting a unique look.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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